It’s been an unexpected start to the season for Tranmere on and off the pitch for the 2013/14 season, unexpectedly I am going to be talking more about off the field issues. After the dismal end to 2012/13 it was a chance for the squad to start afresh and hopefully begin the campaign in a similar style as 2013. Predictably, the exact opposite happened and our opening game against Walsall was a defensive disaster.
Defeats soon piled up and by the end of September Tranmere had won one league match and two cup matches. Understandably and in my opinion, it was justified that Ronnie Moore’s position was being questioned by many supporters. It was obvious to many that the defence was short of talent as well as confidence, something which Ronnie was slow to re-build, but with the loan signings of Liam Ridehalgh and Jim McNulty this now appears to have been stabilized.
Frustratingly, for the second year running Ronnie has also managed to sign a player who has forced to retire due to injury, this season we had Stephen Foster. Foster, on paper looked a very astute signing, but Tranmere failed to see even one average performance from him. By the end of August he had “agreed that it was in the best interests of both parties to part company”. Although no official retirement has been announced, Foster is yet to sign for a new club and I’ll eat my hat and yours if he signs for another professional club.
Results of late have started to pick up, the 0-1 result away at Bradford showed desire and determination, especially from Ian Goodison, who at 41 is still showing League 1 how it’s done. At the time of writing (21st November), Rovers are unbeaten in five matches but go into a tough run of matches against Wolves, Coventry and Peterborough in the FA Cup all of which are away. Long term injury victim James Wallace looks to have finally turned a corner with his recovery and recently played in two reserve matches. His influence and potential are huge, so the sooner we see him back, the better.
On the 1st November it was announced by the club that winger Joe Thompson had been diagnosed with cancer. Obviously shocking and sad for everyone involved with the club. Joe is due to begin treatment this week, fingers crossed for a speedy recovery for him.
The other big issue at Tranmere lately is the future ownership of the club. Long standing chairman, Peter Johnson, who bought the club in 1987 and saved us from extinction lead us to the brink of the Premiership three seasons running in the 90’s, but sadly Rovers choked each time the chance was given. Fast forward to 2013, he is now 73 and I imagine wants some form of retirement. Tranmere have been officially for sale since 1997, but no potential buyers have ever come close (to my knowledge) to sealing a deal with Johnson as he originally wanted £5,000,000.
Rovers are in the unusual but enviable position of being land rich, which has obvious benefits to the club under the right ownership. That ownership will hopefully be The Tranmere Rovers Trust who are attempting a takeover of the club, funded by Tranmere supporters. Johnson has pledged to leave all assets to the supporters trust, if they are able to raise £500,000 by the end of 2013. £135,000 has already been raised but there is obviously still a lot to raise. The club has a huge potential to thrive under supporter ownership, something I believe every football supporter in the country should be striving for if their club comes up for sale.
If Tranmere are not sold to supporters, myself (and many others) worry that the club will be used for a quick buck by someone else to sell what land the club owns and to keep the money all for themselves. Then we could be left with nothing and in a far worse position. So, for Tranmere supporters, the time to act is now, or the future becomes very uncertain and risky. The trust are currently offering three types of buy-in for supporters which can be found here: http://goo.gl/3BH4B3
The only way for Tranmere supporters to guarantee their club is in the right hands is by buying into the trusts plans and if you are a Tranmere fan reading this and are yet to do so, I implore you to do so. The cheapest option is £50 which I believe is in reach of most people. More information on the trust can be found here: http://www.
Written by Kenny Orr, We Are Going Up’s Tranmere Rovers Blogger
Kenny tweets at @That_Bald_Owl